Cpsy 643 Social Bases of Behavior Instructor: Eric Rudrud ecc 154 Phone: (320) 308-4155 Email

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CPSY 643 Social Bases of Behavior

Instructor: Eric Rudrud

ECC 154
Phone: (320) 308-4155

Email: ehrudrud@stcloudstate.edu
Homepage: http://www.stcloudstate.edu/~erudrud/


Office Hours: See posted office hours at my office. It is recommended to make an appointment.


Text: Mattaini, M.A., & Thyer, B.A. (Eds.) (1996) Finding Solutions to Social Problems. American Psychological Association: Washington.D.C.

Purpose: To present an overview of socio-behavioral (social bases) problems faced in society. The course will provide an overview of applied behavior analysis and the application of behavior analysis principles and procedures to social problems.

  • Students will be responsible for readings each week.

  • Students will complete a weekly quiz.

  • Students will complete a project (paper) and post the paper to the class. The paper will include a definition of the social issue/problem and then provide 10-15 behavioral based articles regarding solutions to the problem. The paper is to be written utilizing APA format and style.


  • Weekly Quiz (10 points). Grades will be assigned according to 90% = A, 80% = B, 70% = C.

  • Students will be assigned to groups to work on the project/paper.

  • By 2/13/04 all groups will identify a topic of interest for the paper. The topic must be approved by the instructor

  • All papers are due on 4/5/2004.

  • Each group will provide a critique of other student projects.


The book provides an overview of how behavior analysis can contribute to social problems. However many of the chapters provide a theoretical review and it is important to look for current literature to see how behavior analysis has been applied. To this end each group will identify a social problem and investigate current literature to determine what has been accomplished. Topics must be approved by the instructor and can include social problems such as educational reform, school violence, bullying, employment of persons with mental illness, teenage sexual behavior, abstinence and teenage pregnancy prevention, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, efficiency in work place, welfare to work reform, obesity, lack of exercise, unhealthy behaviors, etc. Please review the text book and references and discuss topics with your group. The paper should include 15 – 20 articles related to the topic. The format for the paper should include the following (the major headings should be utilized and the subheadings are to provide guidance in formatting, i.e. under typical approaches you may use 3 most common approaches as the subheadings but include information that I noted)


Definition of the problem (Behavioral definition)

Prevalence of the problem (Why is this a problem and who is affected?)

What are the existing antecendents/contingencies that apply to the problem?

Typical Approaches to the problem

What approaches have been utilized?

What are common elements of these approaches?

What designs were used to evaluate the approach?

What data is provided to support these approaches?

What data exists to support change (how was effectiveness measured)?

What data exists to suggest maintenance and generalization?

Behavioral Approaches to the problem

How has the behavior been defined?

How has the behavior measured?

What behavioral approaches have been utilized?

What are common elements of these approaches?

What designs were used to evaluate the approach?

What data is provided to support these approaches?

What data exists to support change (how was effectiveness measured)?

What data exists to suggest maintenance and generalization?


What is the current state of literature regarding the problem?

What measures have been used to document the problem?

What types of research designs have been utilized to evaluate the validity of intervention?

What types of behavioral interventions have been utilized?

What data exists to support the use of behavioral intervention? (effectiveness of intervention)

What are the limitations of the data and intervention methodologies?

Recommendations for future research?

Behavioral intervention

Design a study that would address the limitations of the current state of affairs.

How would you define the behavior?

How would you measure the behavior?

How would you assess reliability of the behavior?

What type of research design/methodology would you use?

Design an intervention methodology, i.e., what direction would you take?

How would you implement the program, i.e., what procedures are to be followed?

How would you analyze data.

What are the potential limitations of this approach.

Working Together

As you will be assigned to a group, it is important to communicate on a regular basis with your group members, i.e., discussion of topics, roles and responsibilities, assignments and due dates, hashing out ideas, synthesizing information, etc. Grades will be assigned based upon work of the entire group so you all need to work together and collaborate, i.e, 4-5 heads are much better than one. So I would suggest that you email each other and make arrangements for phone calls etc.

In my work I collaborate with friends and colleagues in a variety of grant and program evaluation projects. Working together effectively at a distance is an important skill, i.e., you may collaborate of grant projects in the future. Clear roles, responsibilities, and deadlines are imperative to work efficiently. In addition, it is important to remember the goal of the project. Therefore, do not take things personally. I write many pages on grant applications and often have them edited out and changed to make the grant proposal more concise, clear, etc. Build upon each others strengths and contributions and don’t take suggestions personally.

Schedule of tests

Week Readings Test

1 1/23/2004 Intro and Chap 1 1

2. 1/30/2004 Chapter 2 2

3. 2/6/2004 Chapters 3 3

4. 2/13/2004 Chapter 4 4

5. 2/20/2004 Chapter 5 5

6. 2/27/2004 Chapter 6 & 8 6

7. 3/5/2004 Chapter 7 7

8. 3/12/2004 Chapter 9 8

9. 3/19/2004 Chapter 10 9

10. 3/10/2004 Chapter 11 10

11. 4/2/2004 Chapter 12 11

12. 4/12/2004 Chapter 13&15 12

13. 4/16/2004 Review of Projects

14. 4/23/2004 Review of Projects

15. 4/30/2004 Review of Projects

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